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RandomTruth
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didymus
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God's incompetence - 2nd try

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/4/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 515 times Debate No: 53993
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RandomTruth

Pro

Note: This is a second attempt at this debate - the first doesn't appear to be fruitful. Please directly address whether the actions of God show his incompetence.
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Believers like to claim that God is perfect and all powerful but his actions belie that claim:

1. He is constantly getting humanity wrong. Adam & Eve, The Flood, Babel all show that he clearly has little understanding of what free will means and is constantly having to have do overs.

2. The three religions that he created clearly shows that he is poor at communicating his aims properly. From the 10 commandments onwards, he appears to not have his own rules about how he should be worshipped down pat. Even worse, his lack of clarity and his ambiguity has opened the doors to tens of thousands of denominations.

3. He also can't even keep his physical creations consistent, having to work around its limitations with special miracles and one-off events that cannot be explained and indeed are contradictory to known science. Surely better planning and more flexible specifications for the universe would have avoided these cheats.

In summary, God is incompetent in creating a universe that he doesn't have to bang into place and cheat, mis-managing his creation of humans from free-will to how we're supposed to appropriately worship him.

Thoughts?
didymus

Con

For this debate I will be the devil's advocate: I am personally an atheist, but this question seems intriguing so I decided to accept the challenge.

You need to remember that your argument is God is incompetent, to claim that he is not completely benevolent or even all powerful isn't the purpose of the debate. My goal is to provide an argument proving that he isn't incompetent. The definition of competence is 'having the necessary ability or skills : able to do something well or well enough to meet a standard.' [1] You are asking if God has the powers necessary to be a god, which is a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people : one of various spirits or beings worshipped in some religions. [2]. God obviously has great power and strength, and your own 3rd point of miracles proves he can affect the lives of people and you insist he created nature, and even if it is limited.
The only thing left is you didn't give the definite standard of knowledge a god needs (As that is one of the standards of a god) but we can figure that by looking at other gods in history, and in Greece there is a god/spirit of stupidity, [3] which would be the embodiment of stupidity. So, Koalemos (the name of said god) is a god, a god must have a standard of intelligence by which to be judged, Koalemos is stupid, Koalemos has the lowest intelligence (none) in which he can still be a god.

I think you meant to argue upon God's intelligence, unrelated to other God's, so despite your ill-named topic, I will argue for this case.
What do you mean by 'getting humanity wrong?' Having mankind fall to sin? That seems to be what you are suggesting with the sources you made, so let's look at the individual peices. Before I do this, I will go ahead and define free will as the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or god. [4]

Adam and Eve- The story of Adam and Eve: One week, God decided to make the universe. He thought the universe was pretty good. Somewhere around the sixth day of that week, he decided to make man. [5]
Man was created in God's image,. I do not believe that it is purely physical, but man was like God in the way he acted. God himself claimed he was a jealous god [6], so if this was passed off to man, it would make man with the natural ability of envy, thus man would be jealous OF God. (Not a perfect God, but he still maintains his competence.) This would lead man to want to further work to be more powerful (God-like) which leads to the easy temptation of taking the fruit. (Eve from the Serpent, Adam from Eve.)

The Flood- Again, God can be more of a neutral entity, he doesn't like to see 'evil,' but he does like to be worshipped. Most of the world was 'Evil,' Noah worshipped God. God decided to say **** it and give man a new start. He did this by taking Noah and a rather large zoo on a large boat that survived what has to be the worst flood in the history of Earth. See, 500 year old Noah actually worshipped God, so God decided to keep him for the sake of God's own vanity. [7]

'Babel'- So, eventually man decided to try to see how angry they could make the great dicator in the sky. They would make a tower that would equal to heaven and again, they would try to be on even grounds with God. A bit after they started, God realized he didn't like it. He couldn't kill all of mankind again, because Noah seen a rainbow. Instead, he decided to make them go crazy by granting them different languages so they couldn't build the tower anymore. The tower was destroyed and this society spread around the world so they didn't have to hear each other's nonsense. [8]

My summary may be overly simplified, and a bit of a parody, but God doesn't demonstrate stupidity, just a bit of lack of power to control free will (Which you falsely stated he misunderstood, and by definition he couldn't control) and they did have full knowledge over good and evil (The tree of knowledge granted this), so he punished them. A teacher would punish a student for disobeying the rules, even if the student were a bad kid and the teacher knew the kid would misbehave, you could say the teacher gave the benefit of the doubt.

2. You said it yourself, humans have free-will. As long as this holds true, if they see something in religion they didn’t like they change it to suit them and move on. They could misunderstand the text of the Bible of course, but what is passed on has been through different languages (See ‘Babel’) that it may be entirely different from what is was originally. Chances are, it was initially spread by word of mouth so people adjusted it in different ways in early years, and some people had different forms that stayed with their belief systems.

3. God only cast miracles on those he likes, and a consistent universe is not a feat of strength. It would occur naturally. IF there were miracles, they would prove his ability to change the properties of reality, a power that would fall under his Godhood.



1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
3. http://www.theoi.com...
4. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
5. http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org...
6. http://biblehub.com...
7. http://www.biblegateway.com...
8. http://www.biblegateway.com...
Debate Round No. 1
RandomTruth

Pro

I am personally an atheist, but this question seems intriguing so I decided to accept the challenge.
Unfortunately, this might turn out to be a waste of both our times. As an atheist, you are not constrained by requirement for God's actions to be true and your arguments are not really consistent with Christian beliefs.

Adam and Eve: Christianity's goal is not to be more powerful than God - it is literally not possible.

Flood: God isn't vain either.

Babel: How does Noah seeing a rainbow prevent him from killing everyone all over again.


My summary may be overly simplified, and a bit of a parody, but God doesn't demonstrate stupidity, just a bit of lack of power to control free will (Which you falsely stated he misunderstood, and by definition he couldn't control)

I didn't say God was stupid - I said he was incompetent. And being killed is not really a punishment!


2. You said it yourself, humans have free-will.

There are many ways to control free-will. We humans have been much more effective at it than God has been able to demonstrate. In choosing death over control he shows his incompetence.

3. God only cast miracles on those he likes,

I don't think that's how miracles have worked out!
didymus

Con

I may not be taking this argument to seriously, as I am an atheist, but I'm not sure if you are actually following my arguments.

"Adam and Eve
: Christianity's goal is not to be more powerful than God - it is literally not possible."
CHRISTIANITY'S goal isn't to be more powerful than God- that is obvious. This portion of my argument was that early man had a natural tendency of jealousy, and a want to be equal to God. Christianity is defined as [1] 'the religion that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ' and Jesus hadn't even existed at this time. Man is often ambitious, and they learned their place with exile, but later on the tower of Babel provides proof that man's ambitions may lead him to see a deity as an equal.

"Flood: God isn't vain either. "
Need I remind you that you are destined to Hell forever if you choose the wrong God? Noah wasn't without sin, [2, read the question for reflection.] and the only reason why he was spared was that he worshipped God. Even if "God being vain" is false, he still kept Noah alive so he could be worshipped.

"Babel: How does Noah seeing a rainbow prevent him from killing everyone all over again. "
The "Rainbow Promise" God makes to Noah says he does not plan to use floodwaters to kill everyone, that on it's own doesn't promise much, so I assumed that he meant he would not fully eradicate mankind again.

"I didn't say God was stupid - I said he was incompetent. And being killed is not really a punishment!"
If you even read my initial argument, I pointed out the meaning of competence and what it means to be a god, you would know that he fits this criteria meaning he is in fact, competent enough to be a god. He meets standards that all other gods meet, supernatural strength, power, and the ability to shift reality. You stated that he is incompetent because:
1) He doesn't control free-will, he understands that he can't control thus he put down laws and rules to govern them. (Where it becomes their choice whether or not they follow.) He can't control it, and mankind continuously got more evil so he wiped it out to start again. God didn't freely grant them Free-Will, they were tricked into taking it, as they did things off instinct until they ate the fruit of Good and Evil from the tree of knowledge.
As for killing being a punishment, this is before Jesus died for man, they still had the sins on them thus they would not go to paradise, they may either go into oblivion (my name for nothingness) Purgatory (A waiting place) or Hell. In any case, it seems more of a punishment than anything so unless you can provide proof rather than your personal thoughts on death (I like the idea of oblivion) then I think my statement stands.

2) "There are many ways to control free-will." Is your statement about how God should have done it. What you are saying is 'God can find ways to control Free-Will.' The definition I provided for Free-Will is "the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or god."
'There are many ways for God to control the ability to make choices that are not controlled by god.' I'm pretty sure there is a problem here, either your ideology is wrong, or you have a different idea of free will, but I gave it the definition for use in the argument, so it should be irrelevant, but I will allow you to defend it provided you explain your definition of it.
If you are talking about force, forcing people to good doesn't make them good. My argument here is that people decided to change their beliefs to where it'd suit them, they form their own ideas of good. Different ideas are not a bad thing, God didn't make the Holy Books completely vague, he left room for people to interpretation and for people to create their own ideas of Good and evil.

"God only cast miracles on those he likes,
I don't think that's how miracles have worked out!"

The exact words I used for this were pretty bad, but I was attempting to state that miracles don't happen to everybody, if they did, they wouldn't be miracles, they would be everyday things. I wrote this to counter your ideas of "He also can't even keep his physical creations consistent, having to work around its limitations with special miracles and one-off events that cannot be explained and indeed are contradictory to known science." So your right, he doesn't cast miracles on those he likes, he will cast them when he wishes, almost randomly. That miracles part was the beginning of my statement, but it wasn't actually that important to it. The point I was attempting to get across was that a constant universe is not a feat of strength, and you seem to ignore this.


1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://christianity.about.com...
3. http://www.biblegateway.com...


Debate Round No. 2
RandomTruth

Pro

I may not be taking this argument to seriously, as I am an atheist, but I'm not sure if you are actually following my arguments.
If I haven't understood your ideas after this response please correct me in the comments so that we don't waste debate cycles. That said, even as an atheist, you should still argue in keeping of a common understanding of the Bible.


Adam and Eve
CHRISTIANITY'S goal isn't to be more powerful than God- that is obvious
That was your specific point!

This portion of my argument was that early man had a natural tendency of jealousy, and a want to be equal to God.
That's not even true - where does it ever say that?

Jesus hadn't even existed at this time.

You do realize the connection between Jesus & Adam and Eve don't you?

Flood
That doesn't address my point here that God again misunderstood and mishandled a free-willed race of creatures.

Babel
Yet, he is still willing to perform acts that disrupt all of Mankind's progress. Hence, again, his incompetence is shown.


If you even read my initial argument, I pointed out the meaning of competence and what it means to be a god, you would know that he fits this criteria meaning he is in fact, competent enough to be a god.

You forget that Christians also have the criteria that God is all-knowing, all-powerful and perfect. His actions show that he is actually none of those. He is definitely not all-knowing otherwise we wouldn't need 3 or 4 do-overs and multiple religions; he is clearly not all powerful because he needs to keep tweaking his universe to make things happen that he didn't plan for; and therefore not even perfect.

1) He doesn't control free-will, he understands that he can't control thus he put down laws and rules to govern them. (Where it becomes their choice whether or not they follow.) He can't control it, and mankind continuously got more evil so he wiped it out to start again. God didn't freely grant them Free-Will, they were tricked into taking it, as they did things off instinct until they ate the fruit of Good and Evil from the tree of knowledge.

And knowing this he should have mitigated those risks by appropriately desiging conditions where he didn't need to wipe out everyone and start again, and try again with multiple religions. He even sent in a sort of avatar of himself on Earth to take a direct hand in things.

All this means that he clearly is not all-knowing, that he hadn't planned on these actions to begin with. So clearly, he's just making stuff up as he goes along.


As for killing being a punishment, this is before Jesus died for man, they still had the sins on them thus they would not go to paradise, they may either go into oblivion (my name for nothingness) Purgatory (A waiting place) or Hell. In any case, it seems more of a punishment than anything so unless you can provide proof rather than your personal thoughts on death (I like the idea of oblivion) then I think my statement stands.

This is a side topic so let's not address that here. Its too big to tackle. However, you see death, the fact remains he did indeed kill humans en-masse.

2) "There are many ways to control free-will." Is your statement about how God should have done it. What you are saying is 'God can find ways to control Free-Will.' The definition I provided for Free-Will is "the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or god."
'There are many ways for God to control the ability to make choices that are not controlled by god.' I'm pretty sure there is a problem here, either your ideology is wrong, or you have a different idea of free will, but I gave it the definition for use in the argument, so it should be irrelevant, but I will allow you to defend it provided you explain your definition of it.
If you are talking about force, forcing people to good doesn't make them good. My argument here is that people decided to change their beliefs to where it'd suit them, they form their own ideas of good. Different ideas are not a bad thing, God didn't make the Holy Books completely vague, he left room for people to interpretation and for people to create their own ideas of Good and evil.


There are a range of actions to control creatures of free will and most of them do not involve killing and he kinda got there in the end since we haven't been wiped out for a while. So why did he not do this in the first place? My main point here is he took several tries in order to get his way.

He doesn't cast miracles on those he likes, he will cast them when he wishes, almost randomly. That miracles part was the beginning of my statement, but it wasn't actually that important to it. The point I was attempting to get across was that a constant universe is not a feat of strength, and you seem to ignore this.

When he casts them is irrelevant. My point is that he needs to break the rules of his own universe in order to do so. He cheats to get his way. That again shows incompetence.
didymus

Con

didymus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
RandomTruth

Pro

Thanks for the debate!
didymus

Con

didymus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
didymus

Con

didymus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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